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The Nice Trap sample essay

1. Do you think there is a contradiction between what employers want in employees (agreeable employees) and what employees actually do best (disagreeable employees)? Why or why not?

The article is focusing on only one traits from the Big Five Model. I believe individual personality cannot be judged with only one dimension. For example, a person can be highly agreeable and high conscientiousness, which means more drive and disciple and being organized will definitely reflect on higher performance because his or her leadership skill is more enhanced in the form of persistence, attentiveness with high standards. The textbook suggest that Conscientiousness is the most important traits in the Big Five Model, especially for those who wants to become front-line employees.

Moreover, successful employees usually make compromises specially when area of conflict is reached and show more cooperation when they feel that disagreeable will not serve their personal objectives which give the impression as they are high on agreeableness. The article assumes that employers always want agreeable employees by fault, it could not be true when in some jobs with interpersonally oriented jobs such as customer service, but the situation will definitely not be the same when the employer would like to hire candidates for strategic position with high potential and needs strong leadership behavior.

2. Often, the effects of personality depend on the situation. Can you think of some job situation in which agreeableness is an important virtue? And in which it is harmful?

In situations like business crisis, when the board of directors is taking the lead to drive the company during hard time, agreeableness from all subordinates would be an important virtue because there would not be time to stop, argue, and disagree. The best way to help the company will only require full cooperation, compliance and abiding the rules from everyone in the organization. For example, nurses should listen and perform the orders from doctors at emergency situation. On the other hand, for jobs situation that requires bargaining skills to defend solid business case to get approval, agreeableness would be harmful for the company because agreeable people is less likely to get into accidents while such situation needs some sort of disagreement as conflict with ah healthy level that can boost the performance.

3. In some research we have conducted, we have found that the negative effect of agreeableness on earnings is stronger for men than for women (that is, being agreeable hurt men’s earnings more than women’s). Why do you think this might be the case?

The negative effect of agreeableness on earnings hurts men more than woman because men perceived differently than women. Stereotypically speaking, women are usually the “more socially active nature” being more communicative and more friendly thus assumed to be more conversational in social conflicts than men are. And, agreeableness may be looked at as a feminine feature and thus by men being agreeable, possibly feminize him at an unconscious level.

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